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How to Market a Book Once the Initial Hype Dies Down

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This article was originally posted by Diana Urban of BookBub and entitled “9 Ways to Market a Book After the New Release Buzz Dies Down.”


 

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Myth or fact?: Once a book has launched and the new release buzz has died down, there’s nothing you can do to market that book except publish the next one.

Myth! With a little creativity and persistence, you can continue marketing a book to effectively reach new readers well after its release day.

Here are some strategies you can use to keep the momentum going in the months following a book’s release.

1. Use discounting to hook new readers

Discounting is well-known as a way to promote backlist titles, but it can also be used to promote new releases. You can do this by using a backlist book to hook new readers you can then upsell on the newer release. This strategy is frequently used in the lead-up to book launches, but it’s also effective in the weeks and months following a new book’s release.

While readers aren’t likely to pay full-price for a book from an unfamiliar author, they’re more inclined to risk a lower price-point purchase, like $0.99 or $1.99. Cross-promoting the newer release in the discounted book’s back matter — once readers are hooked — can increase sales of the full-priced new release. This strategy has worked well for BookBub’s partners — 60% of bargain readers go on to purchase other books from an author they discovered through a price promotion and over 70% of BookBub partners reported increased sales for their other books after running a price promotion.

For example, if you’re promoting the latest book in a series, offer the first book in the series for free or at a deeply discounted price for more than three days and promote the discount using a service like BookBub. By discounting the first in the series, you’ll hook new readers who will likely buy the subsequent books in the series at full price, including the title you’re actively promoting.

Discounting a backlist title is also an effective strategy for promoting frontlist books, even if the newer book isn’t part of a series. For example, hybrid author Cheryl Kaye Tardif increased sales of her standalone book 130x by discounting it to $0.99 and promoting the discount with BookBub.

2. Continue to bolster your book’s platform with more reviews

Garnering more reviews for a book isn’t something that stops being important once a book has been out for a few weeks. The more reviews a book has, the more intriguing it will be to potential readers viewing the book’s product page. Building this momentum in a book’s first few months can help drive sales down the road. Running an effective price promotion often leads to additional reviews, but there are other things you can do to get more ratings and reviews as well.

One effective tactic is reaching out to top Amazon reviewers who have already reviewed similar books and offering them a free copy of the book you’re promoting. Top reviewers are usually experienced reviewers who are willing to spend time writing a genuinely helpful review, and are more likely to have a quick turnaround time. The easiest way to find relevant top reviewers is to browse through similar books and find people who have a “Top Reviewer” badge:

Top Amazon reviewer

When you find a Top Reviewer, navigate to their Amazon profile page to see the other books they’ve reviewed and preferences they’ve listed. If it seems like the book is relevant to their interests, check to see if they’ve included their contact information (you can find this next to their profile picture).

Amazon top reviewer page

If their contact information is public, send a short email mentioning how you found them and why you think they’d be interested in this book. Offer them a free copy, and show appreciation for their time. If you’re offering the book for free, and the reviewer is interested in the content, it won’t matter to them that the book isn’t brand new.

3. Give the first few chapters away for free

Another popular strategy is offering the first few chapters of the book for free (or up to 10% of the bookfor authors who are part of the Amazon Select program). This can hook people and encourage them to purchase the full book. Ideally the sample will end on a cliffhanger that entices people to read on. On the last page, include a call-to-action (CTA) with links to purchase the full copy so that it take only a few clicks to find out what happens next.

There are a few different ways you can give away these first few chapters:

  • Upload a perma-free sample on retailer sites as a separate ebook. To avoid disappointing readers, make it very clear in the title and description they’re downloading only a sample. In this case, the CTA on the final page should only link to this retailer.
  • Create a PDF and upload it to your website. Once people download the sample, it’s okay if it’s distributed outside of your control. It’s just a sample, and you should hope it gets as many eyeballs on it as possible! In this case, the CTA on the final page should include links to the product page on each retailer site where the book is available.

4. Run a BookBub Ad campaign

Launch week isn’t the only time you can reach new readers with targeted advertisements. In fact, many authors and publishers use BookBub Ads as a way to extend interest in a new release well after a book’s launch date.

If you aren’t familiar with BookBub Ads, it’s a new platform that allows advertisers to reach millions of power readers via dedicated ad space in BookBub’s daily email. You can promote any book at any time, including full-priced books.

BookBub Ads Example

To get the most out of BookBub Ads, we recommend making sure the audience you’re targeting fits your marketing goals. You can target readers based on category preference, retailer, region, and author interest. Here are a few targeting strategies partners have used successfully:

  • Target readers who have expressed interest in you or your books by inputting your own name in the Refine by Author field (or the name of the promoted book’s author).

Refine By Author

  • Target readers who have expressed interest in authors who write books similar to the one you’re promoting. Consider adding a comparison to or blurb from those authors in the ad creative, if you have one.

Ads mentioning other authors

Fine-tuning your audience will help you reach readers most likely to be interested in the book, thereby driving the most efficient click-through rate possible and helping to net a positive ROI.

Note: If you’re interested in running a BookBub Ads campaign, you can join the waiting list using the form at the bottom of this article or on the right side of this page. We’re only able to support a small number of advertisers at this time, but we’re busy expanding capacity, and in the months ahead we’ll gradually invite members of the waiting list to use the tool.

5. Check in with people who received the book launch announcement

When the new book launched, you may have sent an email to your mailing list and/or blog subscribers with a link to purchase or learn more about the book.

While an easy tactic would be to send another promotional email to the same group, a more targeted and thoughtful approach could be to send two different emails:

  • Send email #1 to people who engaged with your first email. Include recipients who either opened or clicked a link within the announcement email. These are the most engaged people on your list who may be more likely to make the purchase or even write a review for the book. So reach out and ask if they’ve gotten around to reading it yet. Let them know you value their opinion and would sincerely appreciate an honest review.
  • Send email #2 to people who didn’t engage with the first email. These recipients cared enough to sign up for your email list, but for whatever reason didn’t open the first email. Maybe it got caught in a spam filter, maybe they were busy that day, or maybe it just got lost with all the other dozens of emails they received at the time. Send them the first few chapters of the book for free and see if you can hook them a second time around.

Most email service providers let you see who opened or clicked on your email so you can send an email to a targeted list. For example, in MailChimp, you can email only the people who clicked on a particular campaign.

Mailchimp Segmentation

6. Be the first to use new marketing tools

Keeping up with the newest promotional tools is a great way to catch readers’ attention. Continuallymonitor the marketing landscape in case something new crops up during the first six months of the book’s release. Bestselling independent author Michael Siemsen has been able to attract new readers by using this strategy on Twitter:

The second Twitter introduced Cards in promoted tweets, I jumped on it and blasted my latest Sci-Fi release to everyone in that interest segment (via Twitter Ads), with an eye-catching image of the book cover, because I know it grabs the eye of SF fans. Whenever a new promo tool like that comes out, I jump on it, because:

  • It’s still novel to the users so they’re more likely to look at it, click, etc.
  • The ad prices are usually super cheap because they’re new, so it’s a safer investment.

That campaign received somewhere around 200,000 impressions, 30,000 ‘engagements,’ and 2,200 link clicks. I sold around 1,500 books over those two days — a huge spike.

7. Keep an eye out for free publicity opportunities

Publishing articles about the book’s niche across various websites can help you gain exposure to a new audience. But instead of spending hours seeking out websites and pitching your way into guest post opportunities, let the publishers and reporters come to you for relevant quotes.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a sourcing service that connects journalists with relevant experts, enabling brands to tell their stories to the people looking for them. If you sign up for a free HARO account, you’ll receive an email three times per day that includes media opportunities in which you could be quoted. You can customize the email alerts you receive so you’re not bombarded with irrelevant queries.

HARO segmentation

Since these categories are fairly broad, it’s often best to sign up for the Master HARO list and set up your own email filters so you only get alerts for relevant queries. For example, in Gmail you could set up a filter like this to delete HARO emails that don’t include relevant terms:

from: haro@helpareporter.com -{“term one” OR “term two” OR “term three”}

HARO Gmail Filters

Once you receive an email, search that email for the terms that let the email get through your filter.

HARO book example

If it’s a relevant query where you have some expertise, don’t hesitate — reporters often quote from the first response or two they receive. This is a fantastic way to get free publicity for a recently released book.

8. Capitalize on current events

If you can strategically promote a book during specific seasons, an annual event, or when something pops in the media within the first six months of its release, take advantage of that opportunity. For example:

  • If you’re promoting a romance, do a marketing push on Valentine’s Day.
  • Promote funny chick lit as a summer beach read or as airplane reading during the holidays.
  • Compare Tudor historical fiction to a hit new Tudor-related TV show and target fans of that show.
  • If the book features athletes overcoming great obstacles, promote it during the MLB or NFL playoffs or a relevant sporting event.

You can move sales for a relevant book by strategically taking advantage of what’s trending in the news. Try a price promotion or a major ad campaign during one of these timely events to keep a newer title’s momentum going.

9. Continue publishing new books

Of course, nothing sells backlist like frontlist, so it’s worth mentioning that continually publishing new books can help you garner a wider audience that will be interested in your other books. We see this all the time when readers discover new books via BookBub’s daily emails. Just like running a price promotion for a backlist book is a great way to gain exposure for a new release, publishing a new release boosts backlist book sales as well.

Authors, it’s important to find a balance between churning out new books and promoting existing ones. For all the months and years of effort you pour into your books, they deserve attention beyond the initial release date. It’s entirely possible to effectively find new readers even after the initial buzz dies down.

These nine strategies will also work for the lifecycle of any book, not just the first six months after launch, but they are some of the most effective ways to keep the initial momentum going.

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